There's an old saying in sports: "No team is as good as it appears when things are going well, and no team is a bad as it appears when it's sputtering."
Two weeks ago, the Pittsburgh Pirates had everyone in the city dreaming of "We Are Family" after a nine-game winning streak--including sweeps of the Angels, Mariners and Brewers--and when a baseball team is playing that well, as a fan, you can't wait to turn on the radio/TV or even head down to the old ballpark to see the magic unfold.
I know, personally, I started pulling out every old VHS baseball tape I had stored away and watched them over and over. I felt like a little kid again. And to me, that's what is so great about being a fan of a team that hasn't won in such a long time--a great season just feels so much more magical.
However, as I'm sure you probably know by now, things have taken a bit of a nose-dive for the Buccos as of late. Pittsburgh has lost six of its last eight games, including back-to-back 2-1 losses at the hands of the Athletics at PNC Park.
Right now, the Pirates are 53-36 and a game and a half back of St. Louis in the National League Central. That record just seems so ordinary now after a cool spell, doesn't it?
But a few weeks ago, we would have been ecstatic with being 17 games over .500. When the Pirates were in Seattle to play the Mariners in late June, fans were discussing the final 17 games before the All-Star break and handicapping how many times the team would win. Most people said they would be happy with 10 or 11 victories. Here we are two weeks later, and Pittsburgh is 6-6 in the past dozen games. Is sure doesn't seem as magical as a nine-game winning streak, but it's still better than it was three weeks ago, when the Pirates fell to Cincinnati and were 42-30.
If Pittsburgh can get hot again and win three of four before the break, the team would be 56-36--who wouldn't take that mark?
The Pittsburgh Pirates aren't the team that won nine games in a row, and they're not the team that's currently having trouble scoring more than a run a game. They're the team that went 41-25 over the course of 66 games BEFORE the Bucco Fever truly took off.
Being hot is one thing. Being cold is quite another. However, it's what you do in the middle that truly counts.
The Pirates have a nice foundation (and still the second best record in MLB, believe it or not).
It would be wise to keep the faith.